Imagine you might even know this, that there is a yearning, searching, passionate pulse in your heart that sees beyond this world, this life. Wouldn’t it be the sweetest relief to let that part of you sing? And when your deepest inner voice joins the chorus of all life, all time, all cosmos, might you not feel peace?

This, I believe, is what yoga has to offer. This is what the path of yoga can provide.

When I talk about it in this way, I start to wonder why so much of yoga at this time, in this country, is physical. So much of what I teach is physical. Are we missing the point?

I don’t think so. Lovely things happen through the physical practice of yoga. Ideally, we create safe movement in the joints and strong musculature that supports that movement, meaning that while we are in these vessels, we are inhabiting them well, feeling comfortable in our own skins. With a little luck, this can soothe or prevent the distraction of physical discomfort which can impede the mental work of moving towards enlightenment.

When we practice physical yoga, we are also practicing curiosity, observation, and awareness. We are noticing what we are doing as we are doing it, noting the bodily experience as well as the thoughts around it. A mindful physical practice can hone our ability to self-calm, to meditate, to glimpse that great peace.

And, when we practice the physical poses of yoga, we are breathing with intention. Breathing is the only human action that we can control, but will also take place with no effort on our part, when we’re not thinking of it at all. This makes it an incredible resource in the effort to join body and mind.

In these human forms, our physical experiences reverberate into our minds and our mental states have strong physical repercussions. We must set both at ease so we can set ourselves free.